The 15th annual Bissell Grogan Humanities Symposium took place on Tuesday, January 21.The symposium was established in honor of Kenyon Bissell Grogan '76, former Chair of the Board of Trustees. The goal of the day is to educate and engage students in relevant topics of today. This year's symposium theme was Environmental Stewardship & Impact. Jake Auchincloss was the keynote speaker, presenting "Reinventing Transportation through the Green New Deal."
A former Marine officer, a current Newton city councilor, and a candidate for Congress in the Massachusetts 4th District, Auchincloss spoke to students about what he called “Habits of Thought on Environmental Sustainability”—thinking patterns that help shape actions and beliefs. He encouraged students to consider the impact they can make on their environment, no matter how small. He reminded students that "environmental sustainability is about more than just being green. It’s about leaving our kids with a planet that is in better shape than we found it.”
Following the keynote address, students headed off to workshops on topics such as sustainable clothing, solar energy, landscape architecture, environmentally responsible investing, and marine conservation and policy, as well as from organizations such as Newton Community Farm, Essex County Beekeepers Association, and Charles River Watershed.
Symposium Co-Chair Megan Dolan was thrilled with how the day went, noting that the key to its success was the combination of workshop topics that really resonated with the students and a dynamic and engaging keynote speaker who was pitch-perfect in his delivery. “[Auchincloss] inspired and connected with his audience immediately and that’s not easy to do with high school students. They can be a tough crowd,’ says Dolan. “But he customized his message beautifully, and he showed our students how they can positively impact climate change simply by shifting their attitudes and behaviors in the future.”
The Bissell Grogan Humanities Symposium was established in 2006 in honor of Kenyon Bissell Grogan, former Chair of the Board of Trustees and Brimmer graduate of the Class of 1976. The goal of the Symposium is to both educate and engage students in relevant topics of today. An annual event attended by students in grades 8–12, it commences with a keynote speaker and is followed by workshops that explore a diverse range of subjects on a chosen topic. Read more about past symposiums.
Green Infrastructure Yesterday and Today in Boston’s Emerald Necklace, Daniel Adams
Solar Energy in the Commonwealth, Shannon Beale and Elizabeth Mahony
Transforming Transportation: Promoting a Healthy Environment by Changing the Way We Get Around, Matt Casale
Climate Change Impact on Bees and Other Pollinators and its Impact on Humanity, Mel Gadd
Act Locally, Impact Globally: the Power of a Community Farm, Reva Haselkorn
Climate Change & the Ocean, Dr. Kelly Kryc
The Charles River Story - From Sewer to Jewel and What It Means in a Climate Change Era, Emily Norton
Environmentally Responsible Investing, David Purdy P ‘23, ‘26, ‘28, ‘31
Sustainable Fashion in Boston and Beyond, Mary Savoca